Sources in Greece
Samples of Greek records are included in the manual "Family History Research in Greece" (see "Books" of this website)
1. RECORDS. The records you expect to find in Greece are:
a. Church Records. These are Diocese Registers instead of Parish Registers that are found in other countries. These records include baptisms, marriages, and deaths. This means that the churches in towns will not have old records. The Greek word for Diocese is Iera Mitropolis. The Dioceses are located in large cities usually the capital of a county.
b. Civil Registration:
· Mitroon Arrenon [Male Register] is the one kept in hand at the Dimarheion [town hall]. They can also be found in Nomarheion [office of nomos (county)], and Eparheion [office of eparhia (district)]. Usually they start from 1830, but the ones of 1830-1860 are retrospective (constructed on a later date).
· Dimotologion [Town Register] is a list of residents by families, similar to a census. Available in town halls are of 1887, of 1914, and of more recent years.
· Ektheseis [Reports] recordings by families. Sometimes they include four generations.
· Oikogeneiaki Katastasis [Family Status] is like a Family Group Record with detail information.
· Apografai [Census] the ones conducted by the Greek government start from 1828, 1836-1845 yearly, then every 3 or 5 years, and finally every 10 years. There was one done retrospective for 1821. In previous years censuses in Greece were performed by other countries.
2.ARCHIVES (found in each large town or city)
a. Dimotika Arheia [Municipal Archives] found in Town Halls.
b. Lixiarheion [Vital Records] after 1925. This name “Lixiarheion” creates some confusion because some old books bear the name “Lixiarheion” which means Vital Records.
c. Genika Arheia tou Kratous – GAK [General Archives of Greece] also called State Historical Archives. This is an archive that selects and preserves any old document. They are usually located in the capital of each eparhia [district].
d. Iera Mirtopolis [Diocese] explained on the top of this page, under Church Records.
e. Stratiotika Arheia (Military Archives) can be found locally in each “Stratologiko Grafeio” [Conscription Office] located in capitals of eparhia or capitals of nomos.
f. Symvolaiografika Arheia [Notarial Archives] include contracts of land transfers, dowry contracts, wills etc.
g. Private Archives. Some retired archivists, moved by their appreciation for history, have kept information about families, extracted from material available in the archive where they served.
3.BOOKS. There is hardly a town that does not have it’s history written in a book. Some times these books contain copies of records.
4. NEWSPAPERS OF TOWNS. Usually publications of Societies consisted of current or former residents of a town.
5.GOVERNMENT GAZETTE. Newspaper in which are listed new laws, drafting and voting lists etc.
6.RELATIVES. Remember to show genuine interest, love and appreciation.
7. PHOTOGRAPHS. In the back of old photographs you may find inscriptions that often hold valuable information.
8. ICONS [pictures of Saints]. Often the birth dates of members of the family are written in the back of family icons.
9.INTERNET In order to find your line on the Internet, one of your relatives must have submitted it. You are the one to judge if this is a possibility. However the Internet can help you find if there is an organization of people from your ancestors’ birth place, or the address of a Town Hall etc.
NOTE: Asking information about an ancestor through e-mail (or telephone calls) is not advisable. In order to be successful in receiving information, your request should be done in writing a letter and mail it. The archivists need to know your full name, address, and any other Information about you before they trust you enough to send you information. It is good to include your e-mail address in your letter to give them the opportunity to communicate by email if they choose to do so.
[For more details about sources in Greece see manual
“Family History Research in Greece” which is described
on Books” of this website]
By: Lica Catsakis